Press Release
October 27, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the administration to deploy more Information and 'Communications Technology (ICT) applications useful in Disaster Response, as he lauded the launch of a mobile phone application connected to the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Developed by former Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholars Rolly Rulete, Pablito Veroy and Jay Albano, the mobile application will provide users real-time updates of weather and flood alerts from the Project NOAH website.

"This is a simple, but very vital breakthrough for the country towards using ICT in preparing for and reacting to natural disasters," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

"With this technology, Filipinos will still be armed with important weather information such as the tracks of storms and the intensities of incoming rains, even if electricity, TV and radio services get cut off--as long as mobile phone and Internet connectivity are assured."

He further explained that the application will allow a speedier and more accurate way of disseminating critical information to a much wider portion of the population.

"Data of this sort can help mitigate disasters and even save more lives," added the veteran lawmaker, noting that the country has recently been named the third most-disaster-prone country in the World Disaster Report 2012.

A recent report from the World Bank showed that in 2011, there were 101 mobile phone subscriptions in the country for every 100 people--representing a significant jump from 41 subscriptions out of every 100 people in 2005.

While the mobile phone penetration in the country is reported to have already reached 100 percent this year, industry analysts have said that smartphones represent only 29.4 percent of the local market.

"Many Filipinos will still be unable to access the Project NOAH application, but the fact that mobile phones are so ubiquitous in this country only underscores that we're taking steps in the right direction," emphasized Angara.

"Better we start ourselves now in creating and innovating on ways that ICT can be married with our efforts in disaster response and risk reduction."

A project of DOST and Smart Communications, Project NOAH's mobile application was just released this October.

"Our goal to maximize the full potential of ICT in our national efforts is slowly coming true. But we should not stop here. We should still continue to build up on our S&T capacity towards disaster risk reduction, management and response," stressed Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

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